When you were my age (10), did you have a book inspire or impact you?
I used to love reading Enid Blyton’s children’s books. Her Adventure Series were pretty awesome – four kids going about solving mysteries and having outdoor fun – really got my ‘adventure’ imagination going at a young age. I loved the way she had a theme associated with each book, The River of Adventure, The Castle of Adventure, etc., so that there was a different tone, color and flavor to each adventure.
I feel that I should also mention here that while I was growing up, I hadn’t encountered many novels where a female character gets to be a main protagonist. I really wanted to see girls taking on the leadership roles in books involving adventures. And so, when I decided to write about galactic adventures, I wanted it to be about a girl. The Galactic Adventures of Hazel – Gurecoa, is the first book of the series. This story is about a 12-year old girl, Hazel, and her friends who travel to different galaxies to find out what Gurecoa really is. This is an entertaining novel which will appeal to both girls and boys who can relate to Hazel, a people person, in many ways.
2. Have you read anything recently that inspired or impacted you?
I just finished reading “A Brief History of Time” by Stephen Hawking. It is amazing how masterfully this genius scientist explains the complexities of the workings of the Universe with simple analogies and spatters his accounts with wit. His concepts of time and space, singularities, black holes, arrow of time are both mind boggling and inspiring. I was overwhelmed by the intricacies and the scale of the universe in terms of the parameters of space and time.
It was indeed a great read and provided me the necessary fuel to channel my imagination in the right direction in the coming months. The more you know about science and technology, the better you will be able to do justice to a sci-fi fantasy book.
3. Can you share what your usual day as an author looks like?
My typical day would be to sit in front of my laptop and type away chapter after chapter talking about the series “The Galactic Adventures of Hazel” and be blissfully “absent” from Planet Earth for at least a few hours, except of course when I have to munch on something which painfully brings me back to Earth. Anyway. But to be able to put that kind of effort means there is also a lot of planning and thinking that goes before it.
As an author, I have this constant background process that runs in my mind, where I’ll be thinking about how to add a new character or to what world does Hazel go to next. Small things such as looking at a building or going horseback riding can trigger one’s imagination, and I would be quickly jotting notes on my phone when that happens. I guess, authors are like scientists in the department of creativity.
4. Is there a newer or less known author you think kids should know about?
A few years ago, I read the Septimus Heap series written by Angie Sage. It took me on adventures through a world of magic and I couldn’t help but fall in love with these remarkable characters: Septimus Heap, Jenna and Marcia Overstrand as I went through her seven books. Her use of humor takes the story to a whole new level. If anyone loves Harry Potter, they would enjoy reading this series as well.
It is amazing how authors start with an idea and bring out a whole new world for all the readers to enjoy.
5. What is a cool thing about being an author?
Personally, being an author, I find there is never a dull moment. There so much imagination and creativity that goes into the works that it never grows stale. I can’t imagine how a little bit of writing can transform a dull lack luster day into an exciting journey of imagination and fun.
Another thing, which I frequently talk about, is how writing has taken me on a roller coaster ride. Here I am, creating a whole set of galactic adventures and worlds of the 46th century, and I can’t help myself but feel, I’m actually going on an adventure with Hazel and friends. I create a scene where Hazel has seconds to make a decision to escape from a sea monster, for example, and as I write, it’s funny that I start feeling anxious or thrilled as the story unfolds. I used to think that it is only the readers who feel these emotions but I have to say even as an author I’m not exempt from them.
6. Is there anything hard about being an author? I know it is not rainbows, cupcakes, pens and a pot of gold.
There’s a lot of commitment that goes into being an author. It’s like having your own enterprise. It’s not just writing, but like I explained there is a lot of imagination and creativity that needs to go into it. At any given point of time, say take today for example, I am not only writing my manuscript for my third book in the series, but also marketing my first book and working with my publisher on the publication of the second book. Additionally, one has to handle book signings, interviews and more importantly providing answers to amazing kids like you who are interested in knowing more about the book and my journey.
On top of that, if you are a new author you may have other obligations such as taking on a full-time job to support yourself financially. But if one loves what he/she does, I guess every experience and phase teaches authors something which ultimately leads them closer and closer to their goals.
7. Book access and diversity in books is a big topic. As an author what do you think your role is in this topic?
That’s a great question. With the internet, I guess accessibility has become somewhat easier, as a book could be downloadable from anywhere in the world. Although my book is available as a soft cover, hard cover and ebook formats, in the coming years I hope to endeavor to make it more access friendly by way of audio books, translations, picture books to name a few.
Diversity is such a talked about term these days and the author that comes to my mind who has done a most remarkable job is Rick Riordan. His fantasy novels on Magnus Chase have such a collection of diverse characters that it is both a delight and wonder to read.
My book takes place in the 46th century where galactic travels and interactions with other alien species are a norm. It inherently speaks diversity in a futuristic, imaginary way. You see a mishmash of characters: Hazel, the main protagonist and her brother are part-Tarian, an alien race inhabiting a future Earth, their friend Lumens is from a light dimension who appears to be a sixty-year old man but there is more to be said about his age. And then there’s this AI Doorbell friend that is both annoying and nosy. With diversity in that era being as normal as checking your internet or using your cell phone in this age, the book delves more into friendships and cultivating deep and rich bonds.
8. If you could portal into any book which would it be?
From my childhood I have been interested in Space and the Universe. I was curious as to what lay beyond our planet Earth and if there was life beyond. As a little girl I wanted to explore distant galaxies and far-off planets. Unfortunately, advanced space travel is something not yet known to our species and sadly, under these present circumstances I couldn’t be a space explorer as I had imagined.
The Galactic Adventures of Hazel is, I could say, an inspiration and imagination of the childhood fantasies I had had of the Universe. If ever I get the superpowers to portal into a book, it would be into: The Galactic Adventures of Hazel. I would love to fly the Intergalactic Vehicle (IGV) that Hazel and her friends use and take part in the IGV tournaments, have a row with the annoying Doorbell or enjoy some nice little galactic treats at Himmelska, the famous restaurant in the Milky Way, in Locenburg, the city of Waterfalls!
This is a cool book. It is about friendship and when it goes haywire. This is unique because the main character is the reason it goes haywire. Then she got stubborn and it got worse.
This is also a book about the environment. The girl’s parents are trash experts. This could be a book for a class using sustainable development goals. My mom works with those in her job.
You wouldn’t expect friendship and trash to combine but it is pretty cool.
One note from an ADHD reader. This book changes narrator and time period. Every few chapter or maybe every chapter. That made it a little hard for me follow. This could be a challenge for a student so just keep it in mind.
With a couple high profile kids books coming out recently, I want to bring something up.
When these books come out, grown ups are all “kids will love this”, “kids have to read this” “it is going to be super popular in my class”. The kids hear that and read the book trusting the grown-up. But some kids aren’t going to like the book and that makes them feel dumb.
For example, I haven’t gotten into Harry Potter. Some people have said things that make me feel bad about it. They don’t mean to because they loved the book but it still makes me feel bad.
We have to remember that not all books are for all people. Spoiler: there are some major kidlit authors I don’t like. Everyone gets excited about their books but I just don’t like them. I am okay with this because I know there are lots of other books and authors. But other kids don’t know that.
I would like it if you try to be careful when you get excited about a kids book. It would let kids feel better if they don’t like the book!
This is the story of animals on vacation. They rent a house and make huge messes. It is all kinds of different wild animals doing people things.
This is a very funny story. I think my cats act like this when we are not home. I wish I could teach my cat to brush his teeth (pee-you).
The funniest part is that the house is a human house and they were on vacation in the woods. When they came home it was all messed up. It is a good reminder not to mess up the outdoors because that is someone’s home.
Like when we cut the big tree in our backyard down they found a squirrels nest. They put the babies in a box for their mom. She came and got her babies. We felt bad about cutting down their home but the tree was very sick.
Spoiler: check the under the cover of this book. It has a surprise cover with twister!!
1. When you were my age (10), did you have a book inspire or impact you?When I was 10 (WOW, that was a long time ago) I believe I was in 4th grade and I was writing then. I actually won an award for a story I wrote.I can’t think of any particular book that inspired me but I would have to say something rhyming and silly.
2. Have you read anything recently that inspired or impacted you?Everyday I read inspirational phrases that are usually in a rhyming format and that’s how I like to write my children’s stories, in a rhyming format.
3. Can you share what your usual day as an author looks like? My usual day as an author…Well, I work full-time at the local University, and often times I see a child in my travels when I’m out at a store and something they may say, or an adult may say even, may trigger something funny for me to write about.
4. Is there a newer or lesser known author you think kids should know about? Yes. Me! I try to write my stories so they have manners or some kind of meaning in them that children can relate too, in a good way.
5. What is a cool thing about being an author? The best thing about being an author is seeing my hard work in actual print.
6. Is there anything hard about being an author? You are self published so how does that work? Hmmm, finding illustrators is the hardest thing for me. I use a site called createspace to self publish my books. There is certain criteria that must be met as far as number of pages and margins to name a few, but once I have uploaded the text and pictures and the see the final product in print (usually weeks later) it is all worthwhile. I love to write.
7. Book access and diversity in books is a big topic. As an author what do you think your role is in the topic? Being an indie author is tough because I am not a salesman or marketer and that kind of comes with self publishing to get my books known. I have read different stories at the local YMCA, children’s center and schools which I enjoy because their faces light up and the questions or statements can be quite funny. I also have my books in a local gift shop in Vassalboro, ME., and I also do craft fairs as available. I also have donated my books to schools and hospitals in hopes of putting a smile on a child’s face.
8. If you could portal into any books which would it be? I’m going to choose mine and say, ‘Fred The Frog’s Big Adventure Story and Coloring Book’. Reason being is because along Fred’s journey he meets many different animals in the forest and it makes for an interesting adventure.